Vassalboro Town Office COVID-19 Update (April 2, 2020)



Effective, Thursday, April 2, 2020 and due to Governor Mills’ recent Stay at Home Order, the Vassalboro Town Office will be closed and unmanned through the end of April.  Every few days, staff will monitor messages on the Town Office answering machine and return calls as needed.  Call the town office at 872-2826 with questions. Thank you for your patience and understanding. The health and safety of the public and the town staff is of utmost importance to us during this challenging time.

Also through the end of April, the Public Works department will be shut down except when road conditions warrant otherwise.  PW Staff will monitor the answering machine at the Public Works Garage every few days and return calls as needed.  Call the garage at 923-3985 to report road issues.

For the foreseeable future, the Selectmen’s meetings and the Budget Committee Meetings will be held remotely through video conferencing.  Use the following link to view the list of meetings and to observe them:

At the Transfer Station, a few more changes have been implemented as well.  The Transfer Station will be closed all days EXCEPT Saturday.  On Saturdays for the month of April, only household trash will be received.  Please hold all other types of trash for disposal until regular station hours resume.  We are asking the customer to toss their own garbage in the compactor hopper.  If the customer is physically unable to lift their bag of trash into the hopper, we ask that the bag be left on the ground near the hopper, and George will toss it in while keeping an appropriate “social distance” from the customer.

For residents needing to reach the Code Enforcement Officer and Plumbing Inspector Paul Mitnik, during the month of April he will be working at home and can be reached at 923-3758 or on his cell phone at 313-2648.  Police Chief Mark Brown can be reached at 557-4601.

Vassalboro Community School honor roll spring 2020

Vassalboro Community School. (source:


High honors: Caylie Buotte, Emily Clark, Keegan Clark, Basil Dillaway, Baylee Fuchswanz, Zoe Gaffney, Allyson Gilman, Kaitlyn Lavallee, Cheyenne Lizzotte, Mackenzy Monroe, Kaylee Moulton, Callen Pooler and Ava Woods. Honors: Ariyah Doyen, Jack LaPierre, Elizabeth Longfellow, Mia McLean, Jaelyn Moore, Weston Pappas and Landen Theobald. Honorable mention: Devontay Austin, Samuel Bechard, Gabriella Duarte, Preston Duenne, Bayleigh Gorman, Jeremy Hawk, Lillyana Krastev, Hannah McMurtry, Elliot McQuarrie, Noah Rau, Colby Shults, Grace Tobey and Naseem Umar.


High honors: Jasmine Garey, Drew Lindquist and Paige Perry. Honors: Benjamin Allen, Tristyn Brown, Logan Cimino, Dylan Dodge, Jennah Dumont, Ryleigh French, Drake Goodie, Zachary Kinrade, Gabriella Lathrop, Caleb Marden, Bentley Pooler, Trinity Pooler, Abigail Prickett, Sovie Rau, Kayden Renna, Judson Smith, Hannah Tobey, William Trainor, Alana Wade and Reid Willett. Honorable mention: Taylor Agost, Bentley Austin, Jackson Bailey, Cooper Lajoie, Katherine Maxwell, Brandon Neagle and Landon Sullivan.


High honors: Madison Burns, Scott Fitts, Cody Grondin, Kelty Pooler, Natalie Rancourt, Taiya Rankins and Bryson Stratton. Honors: Kayliana Allen, Nataleigh Brown, Tyler Clark, Tallulah Cloutier, Sophie Day, Ryley Desmond, Eilah Dillaway, Wyatt Ellis, Madison Field, Xavier Foss, Adalyn Glidden, Bailey Goforth, Spencer Hughes, Mason Lagasse, Jack Malcolm, Harley McEachern, Josslyn Ouellette and Mackenzie Oxley. Honorable mention: Peyton Dowe, Caspar Hooper, Alexis Mitton, Noah Pooler, Kole Pratt and Grady Sounier.


High honors: Emily Almeida, Madison Estabrook, Jacob Lavallee, Ava Lemelin, Paige Littlefield and Hannah Polley. Honors: Elisha Baker, Addyson Burns, Quinn Coull, William Ellsey, Seth Hansen, Talula Kimball, Brayden McLean, Alexandria O’Hara, Mylee Petela, Leahna Rocque amd Addison Witham. Honorable mention: Saunders Chase, Mckenzie Duenne, Aiden Hamlin, Taylor neptune, Daniel Ouellette, Emily Piecewicz, Lilian Piecewicz, Abigail Sims and Leah Targett.


High honors: Noah Bechard, Allison Dorval, Ellie Giampetruzzi, Ava Kelso, Greta Limberger, Phoenix Mills, Ava Picard ad Wallace Pooler. Honors: Brooke Blais, Landen Blodgett, Sofia Derosby, Brady Desmond, Kailynn Houle, Josiah Hussey, Bodi Laflamme, Noah Marston, Alysha Opacki, Seth Picard, Grant Taker and Emma Waterhouse. Honorable mention: Evan Brochu, Kaylene Glidden, Echo Hawk, Kyran Kinrade, Ava Prickett and Sterling Williams.


High honors: Elizabeth Brown, Gage Dorval, Cole Fortin, Meilani Gatlin, Tara Hanley, Nathan Polley, Tristan Samuelson, Lara Stinchfield and Lilian Taylor. Honors: Hunter Brandt, Connor Coull, Isaballa Day, Aleigha Gooding, Lucas Haskell, Ethan Lyon, Carlos Michaud, Ann Prickett and Logan Rockwell. Honorable mention: Nathalia Carrasco, Madelynn Cimino, Lexus Field, Tyler Hansen, Sophie Leclerc, Brody Loiko, Hannah Piecewicz and Brandon Wood.

No awards from Oak Grove Foundation this year

Oak Grove School Foundation will not be sending grant awards this Spring due to the Covid-19 virus and the stressed condition of our financial resources. We are thankful for all the people in our community who exert themselves for the well being of the young people that Oak Grove seeks to support. We look forward to recovering from this pandemic and returning to the major grant business in 2021.

Vassalboro school board members briefly discuss first draft of 2020-21 budget

Vassalboro Community School. (source:

by Mary Grow

In addition to review of plans for operating during shutdown (see The Town Line, March 26), Vassalboro School Board members at their March 24 meeting briefly discussed the first draft of the 2020-21 school budget.

They and Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer intended to meet again March 31 to review a revised budget and to discuss it with the Budget Committee later the same evening. However, as of March 30 final figures for insurance were not available, and since the cost of insurance could affect staffing, both meetings were cancelled.

Last year, Pfeiffer reminded board members, “a perfect storm of good numbers” made possible a small reduction from the previous year. The March 24 version, if left intact through the budget review process and approved by town meeting voters, would have increased the tax rate by about one mil ($1 for each $1,000 of valuation).

Pfeiffer asked School Board members if that increase was acceptable, and if not, what would be. They unanimously asked him to aim for a maximum increase of half a mil. Jolene Gamage was unenthusiastic about even that amount, since the pandemic is costing people jobs. On the other hand, she could not see obvious places to cut proposed school expenditures.

Pfeiffer promised to “review, readjust, shave down” to try to meet board members’ target.

As of March 31, Pfeiffer said the school board planned to meet at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, with budget committee members joining them at 7 p.m. The meetings will be virtual; those interested can watch them on the Vassalboro School website,

Vassalboro Planning Board public hearing canceled

The Vassalboro Planning Board public hearing on amendments to the shoreland zoning ordinance, scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, has been canceled, according to Codes Enforcement Officer Paul Mitnick.

Vassalboro school board hears plans for schools during shut down

Vassalboro Community School. (source:

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro School Board members held their first virtual meeting March 24, and thanks to the technical expertise of David Trask and Will Backman it worked efficiently. From their homes, board members and administrators discussed issues and made decisions as though they were sitting in the same room.

Much of the discussion involved reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic that made the virtual meeting necessary. Vassalboro Community School (VCS) has not held classes since Friday, March 13; decisions included unanimous votes to retroactively approve the closure from March 16 to March 27 and extend it to April 27.

Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer congratulated staff and administrators on their response to the situation. He has spent a lot of time coordinating action and exchanging ideas with state education officials and other area superintendents, he said.

VCS Principal Megan Allen said she has focused on keeping teachers and students connected and parents informed. Plans being made for April include daily check-ins with students via video, email or other technologies; sending lists of virtual learning opportunities students may visit if they choose; robocalls sharing new developments; and information about when and how best to reach a teacher.

Teaching staff are expected to spend at least five hours a week doing on-line professional development. Some might choose to explore more ways to communicate from a distance, Allen said.

Rather than eliminate school breakfast and lunch programs, VCS bus drivers and volunteer staff members are using big yellow buses for morning and noon meals-on-wheels deliveries, Pfeiffer said.

Allen said about 300 meals go out on each run. VCS’s enrollment is about 418, she added. There is plenty of food available, Pfeiffer said, but one item on his to-do list is finding out whether state education officials approve of the program.

At one point, the superintendent said, VCS ran low on bags for the meals. Bus driver Bob Hall appealed to Carl and Phyllis Farris, owners of Lakeview Lumber, in China, and the Farrises donated an ample supply of bags.

On other topics, school board members unanimously accepted the resignation of Kyle Irvine as Educational Technician I, Life Skills Program, and hired Tanya Doyon as his replacement. Pfeiffer said Irvine is pleased to be moving into a vacant position on the custodial staff, and welcomed Irvine’s experience and skills.

Allen and Waterville-based central office Special Education Director Amy Benham said Doyon had been at VCS only a week when the school shut down, but both said she had already made a good impression.

Board members discussed their involvement with the town-sponsored solar energy project. Pfeiffer and Jessica Clark, school board representative on the town solar committee, said the latest proposal is to buy into an out-of-town solar farm rather than have one built in Vassalboro, and the question is whether school board members are still interested. A decision was postponed to the special board meeting scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, mostly for more work on the 2020-21 school budget.

The next regular school board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, “hopefully in person,” Board Chairman Kevin Levasseur said.

Vasalboro public works foreman presents budget request

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Budget Committee members spent most of their March 12 meeting talking with Public Works Foreman Eugene Field about his 2020-21 plans and budget request, a major piece of the annual municipal budget.

Also considered was a request from the Vassalboro Historical Society for the usual $2,500 appropriation plus $5,000 toward a $45,000 metal storage building to be set behind the barn on the Main Street property formerly owned by Betty Taylor.

An email from society president Janice Clowes said the building will be used to house and display “large items from Vassalboro,” like wagons and farm and boating equipment.

Committee members talked again about major culvert projects (see The Town Line, March 12) on Gray and Cross Hill roads. Field listed several other culverts that will need replacement soon and explained that if fish or other wildlife live in the brooks running through them, environmental regulations will require extensive work.

Selectman John Melrose, point man on the culverts because of his former job as state Commissioner of Transportation, said engineer Jim Foster helped Vassalboro get a grant to pay part of the estimated cost of the Cross Hill Road culvert. Melrose suggested the town crew do some of the work; Field protested mildly that the time would need to be taken from other summer work.

The Gray Road project started, on state requirements, as a 30-foot bridge replacing the current six-foot pipe, and has been reduced somewhat in size and cost. As of March 12, Melrose said, the state departments of transportation and environmental protection disagreed about how to proceed and the Selectboard had authorized hiring an engineer to create a plan both would accept. Melrose said the Army Corps of Engineers’ approval is also needed.

Discussion included a suggestion to do Cross Hill in 2020 and postpone the more complicated Gray Road project, and ideas for financing the Gray Road work.

Field outlined paving plans, saying in current global financial conditions he expects the cost of paving materials will be lower than expected a month ago. Melrose pointed out that after several years when few roads were paved or repaved, Vassalboro is beginning to catch up on needed work.

Field asked for higher wages for the public works crew than recommended by Town Manager Mary Sabins. He presented hourly rates for employees doing comparable work in area towns as the basis for his request.

Budget committee members made no decisions on spending recommendations. They canceled their March 24 joint meeting with the school board, because, Chairman Rick Denico said, school officials notified him they will not be ready.

Sabins reported March 16 that the selectmen’s and budget committee meetings scheduled for Thursday, March 19, were both cancelled. As of March 16, selectmen planned to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 2. A March 31 budget committee meeting with the school board, requested by the latter, was not confirmed.

Vassalboro planners OK re-opening repair garage

by Mary Grow

After a thorough review and detailed information from applicant Olin C. Charette, Vassalboro Planning Board members unanimously approved his application to reopen his Riverside Drive repair garage, with vehicle sales and a state inspection station.

Charette’s Weeks Mills Garage at 1499 Riverside Drive already has a junkyard permit that Codes Officer Paul Mitnik recommended and selectmen issued in January. A neighbor who attended the March 10 planning board meeting commented that Charette had “done a good job” cleaning up the part of the property visible from the road, as required by junkyard regulations.

The building had previously been a repair garage, but the permit expired while the garage was not operating.

Charette provided information on access, internal traffic movement, screening, lighting, signage and other relevant characteristics of the property.

He said access from Riverside Drive is normally through the north gate; the south gate is opened mostly for tractor-trailers heading behind the building. It is not blocked by parked vehicles, however, so it is available for emergency access. Keeping the south gate clear was the only condition board members attached to their approval.

A paved area in the large front yard will display vehicles for sale; Charette plans to have no more than 10 at a time. There is adequate space for customer parking and for access to the garage doors on the south side.

The back part of the property is screened by earth berms with trees growing on top, the front part by fencing. Charette said there is a motion light on the front of the building. He does not plan to add more lights.

There is a sign on the building and, as required by the state for inspection stations, a small sign listing operating hours by the gate. Charette plans to be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and part of the day Saturdays. He said work will be done inside the garage, and there will be no evening or night work that might bother neighbors.

Charette and board Chairman Ginny Bracket and member Doug Phillips interjected bits of the history of the building, which Brackett said she has reviewed at least twice for prior owners’ permits.

Charette believes the building belonged years ago to a trucking company. He bought the property at auction and was then informed that it was a hazardous waste site and he had become responsible for clean-up.

“I was surprised,” he said.

The clean-up included soil removal, installation of run-off ponds and construction of the berms. It appears to have been successful; Charette said he was surprised again more recently when water from his and the neighbor’s wells tested safe for drinking.

After approving Charette’s permit, board members turned to Mitnik’s recommendation for minor amendments to Vassalboro’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. They will require voter approval. Later, Mitnik emailed that there is time to get the amendments on the June 1 town meeting warrant, and proposed a public hearing on them at the Tuesday, April 7, planning board meeting.

New procedures at Vassalboro Food Pantry

Photo source: Vassalboro Food Station Pantry

The Vassalboro Food Pantry will remain open on Thursdays with the following changes to procedures:

  • Clients are to remain in their vehicles and line up between the cones in the parking lot. Premade boxes will be delivered to your car. You do not need to bring your boxes.
  • New applicants need to call the Pantry before Thursday to complete an application over the phone. The number to call is 207-873-7375. Please bring proof of residency on Thursday.
  • We will open at 11am and remain open until all clients have been served.
  • We are recommending that volunteers over the age 70, or those who are not feeling well, remain at home.

These procedures will remain in effect until further notice. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Vassalboro selectmen present proposal to budget committee

by Mary Grow

At two early-March meetings, Vassalboro School Board members put their 2020-21 budget request into near-final form on March 3, and Vassalboro selectmen presented their proposed municipal budget to the budget committee on March 5.

Discussions are scheduled to continue at a Thursday, March 12, budget committee meeting to consider parts of the municipal budget; a Thursday, March 19, budget committee meeting following that evening’s selectmen’s meeting; and a Tuesday, March 24, budget committee meeting following that evening’s school board meeting. The Budget Committee meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m., the first two at the town office and the March 24 meeting at Vassalboro Community School.

As of the initial meetings, each part of the total town budget proposes an increase over the current year. However, neither has complete figures for either expenditures or income.

The March 3 draft of the school budget does not include three items on Vassalboro Community School Principal Megan Allen’s wish list: a new math instructional specialist to complement the literacy specialist, a third fourth-grade teacher and separation of Vassalboro’s pre-school program from the Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation to give school authorities full control.

An ongoing school issue, in Vassalboro and many other Maine municipalities, is school lunch program deficits. School board members agreed that they need to persuade more students, especially those entitled to free and reduced-price lunches, to eat school meals so that federal subsidies will increase.

On the municipal side, there are the usual cost questions about major items like road-paving and planned culvert replacements. Complicating the picture is what money can legally be used from Vassalboro’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) fund rather than from property taxes.

The piece of good news that seemed firm was a suggested $6,500 reduction in the utilities budget, because the LED streetlights installed last fall are lowering the electric bill.

Income is also a guess at this stage in the budget process. It appears that state aid for both school and municipal accounts will increase, but final figures are not guaranteed until the legislature adjourns in April. The assessor has not finished updating the town’s valuation, which is the basis for setting a tax rate to cover expenditures.

After budget committee review, selectmen will put together a warrant for the annual town meeting, including proposed 2020-21 expenditures. Final spending decisions will be made by Vassalboro voters at the meeting, scheduled for Monday evening, June 1, with local elections to follow on Tuesday, June 9.